Resource Center

Stories

 

 

 

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 26,000 investigative stories — both print and broadcast.

These stories are searchable online or by contacting the Resource Center directly (573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org) where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Browse or search the tipsheet section of our library below. Stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center.

 

 

 



Search results for "criminals" ...

  • The People vs. Brian Tacadena

    At 11:28 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2013, a Santa Barbara Police Department officer shot and killed 46-year-old Brian Tacadena after the officer encountered Tacadena while patrolling Santa Barbara’s Westside. “The People vs. Brian Tacadena” is an in-depth look into the sequence of events that led to the final moments in Tacadena’s life. The story shows how momentum toward tragedy can build slowly over time and then accelerate with fatal consequences over the course of one evening. Besides being a compelling portrait of a troubled man, the story also shows what can happen when mental health illnesses are left largely untreated. The story also examines the cloistered nature of the Santa Barbara Police Department, especially when it comes to reviewing its officer-involved shootings. The story includes a supplementary video featuring the police department’s public information officer discussing the case and how the police department investigates itself, a criminal law attorney specializing in police brutality, and interviews with Tacadena family members and community activists. The story also featured a slideshow of images from Tacadena’s life as well as documents related to his mental-health treatment while incarcerated.

    Tags: police; mental health illnesses; shootings

    By Sam Slovick, Joe Donnelly

    Mission and State

    2013

  • Prosecution Tactics Under Scrutiny: "Let's Make A Deal."

    It’s more the rule than the exception: Criminal cases – be they relatively minor or serious felony matters – most often come to a close before any trial takes place. The bargaining process offers benefits to prosecutors and defendants alike, and often satisfies society’s calls for justice. In Louisiana, records show the overall “plea” rate is in line with national figures. About 90 percent of all criminal cases are resolved through a plea agreement. But in one suburban New Orleans parish, the WDSU I-Team found some remarkable discrepancies. Among them: More than 99.9 percent of all matters were settled outside of the courtroom. That staggering figure is juxtaposed against rising concerns related to crime in the community. And as the I-Team investigated further, reporter Travers Mackel discovered something else – something that caught the attention of the largest government watchdog group in the state, the parish president and the voters and taxpayers who ultimately support the office of the prosecutor.

    Tags: prosecution; criminal cases; law

    By Travers Mackel, Megan Spencer

    WDSU-TV (New Orleans)

    2013

  • Spotlight on Shaken-Baby Syndrome

    The Medill Justice Project, through the hard-hitting reporting of student journalists, has taken on a largely overlooked and misunderstood area of the criminal justice system: shaken-baby syndrome. Scores of mothers, fathers, day care workers and other caregivers throughout the United States are being accused of violently shaking children, despite an emotionally charged debate in medical circles about the accuracy of the diagnosis. Our relentless examination of this issue—through published investigative articles, breaking stories, fight for public records, motions in federal court, multimedia features and other stories—has provided a deeper, nuanced understanding of this complex subject. Our groundbreaking investigations into shaken-baby syndrome have uncovered revelatory information, influenced criminal justice proceedings, impacted public policy and challenged government agencies to abide by the First Amendment.

    Tags: shaken baby syndrome; babies; criminal justice; diagnosis;

    By Christina Assi; Anna Bisaro; Rebecca Cohen; Anika Dutta; Stephanie Fuerte; Alex Hampl; Sarah Husain; McKenzie Maxson; Lauryn Schroeder; Megan Thielking; Diama Tsai

    The Medill Justice Project

    2013

  • WTAE: Where is Pittsburgh's Mayor?

    After Pittsburgh's mayor came under scrutiny during a federal criminal grand jury probe into his administration, WTAE-TV investigative reporter Bofta Yimam requested Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's work calendar for a one-year period. The federal investigation led to the mayor's hand-picked police chief to plead guilty to conspiracy and fraud. Through the official calendar, we hoped to learn more about the mayor’s comings and goings during the period federal investigators are examining. The city, however, denied our request. Our series of ongoing reports showed the difficulty in accessing a public official's calendar in Pennsylvania and highlighted the need for transparency. Through the state's Right to Know law, we filed an appeal and won a decision with the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records. Instead of turning over the records, however, the city Law Department filed a lawsuit against Yimam in the Court of Common Pleas. Now, taxpayers will pay for a court case to keep a calendar private, for a mayor who is under federal investigation and who chose not to run for re-election.

    Tags: foia; government; mayor; open records

    By Bofta Yimam; Brian Caldwell; Andy Cunningham

    WTAE-TV (Pittsburgh)

    2013

  • Cross-Border Killings

    In October 2012, a U.S. Border Patrol agent fired through the 20-foot steel fence separating Nogales, Arizona from Nogales, Mexico, killing an unarmed 16-year-old Mexican boy with 10 bullets through his body. The agents said he was throwing rocks. This was not an isolated incident by a rogue agent, but just the latest in a string of cross-border shootings that raise questions about oversight and accountability of the U.S. Border Patrol. In the last three years, Border Patrol agents have killed 6 Mexican citizens on their native soil, firing through the border to threaten and injure even more. One man was shot while picnicking with his family on the banks of the Rio Grande. Another 15-year-old boy was hit between the eyes with a bullet for allegedly throwing rocks. None of these cases has led to any known disciplinary action or criminal charges against the border police, and U.S. courts have rejected claims made by victims’ families, asserting that Mexican citizens do not have the same constitutional protections as U.S. citizens. Fault Lines travels to the border town of Nogales – presently the nexus for this increasingly lawless law enforcement – to meet the families who have lost their sons at the hands of U.S. agents with no follow up or acknowledgement from U.S. officials.

    Tags: border patrol

    By Mathieu Skene; Singeli Agnew; Carrie Lozano; Wab Kinew; Lincoln Else; Murphy Joseph Woodhouse; Judith Torrea; Andrea Schmidt; John Kane; Keith Wilson; Yousur Alhou; Paul Abowd; Mark Scialla; Omar Damascene; Jonathan Klett

    Al Jazeera America

    2013

  • Ruthless Kidnapping Rings Reach from Desert Sands to U.S. Cities

    The story deals with the ever-evolving crime of human smuggling, and how opportunistic criminal gangs exploit gaps in law enforcement to open new channels for profit. In this case it was how Bedouin gangs along the Egypt-Israel border in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula took advantage of the Arab Spring, the fall of the Mubarak regime, and the increasingly lawless state of the region to create a perfect smuggling scenario linking African refugees in Israel to Palestinian bag men (who collect the ransom) to diaspora Africans in Europe and North America who raise thousands of dollars to rescue their captives. The story documents the $80,000 payment made by one immigrant father from Eritrea—now living near San Jose, California—to secure the release of his teen-age daughter and his own brother. We showed how this was part of a growing international network that has funneled millions of dollars in each of the last 3 years to the criminals operating these enterprises.

    Tags: kidnapping; gangs; organized crime

    By Joel Millman

    Wall Street Journal (New York)

    2013

  • Gaming the Capital: Profiting From Washington’s Secrets

    Investors are getting rich by exploiting the poorly guarded corridors of power in Washington. They are extracting insider tips about companies, winning sneak peeks at market data and tapping privileged insiders such as lobbyists to make huge trading profits at the expense of average investors. In a powerful series of investigations, The Wall Street Journal in 2013 exposed how investors have wormed their way into the political and regulatory system. A reporting team picked from among its best staffers in Washington and New York examined secret trading records, thousands of pages of disclosure forms and gigabytes of complex financial data. Their reporting showed how the nation’s capital is awash in insider information. It exposed potential criminality. It upended long-standing practices in both cities. And it showed how insiders relentlessly exploit their connections.

    Tags: washington; insider; investors; market data; trading; lobbyists;

    By Brody Mullins

    Wall Street Journal (New York)

    2013

  • Backfire

    The investigation revealed that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) employed rogue tactics in undercover storefront strings in Milwaukee and across the country, including using those with mental disabilities to promote the operations – and then turning around and charging them with gun and drug crimes. The investigation found ATF agents set up operations near schools and churches, allowing them to arrest people on more serious charges; let felons armed with guns leave the fake storefronts; paid such high prices that people bought guns from stores and then quickly sold them to agents; bought stolen goods, spurring burglaries in the area; arrested and charged the wrong people; and drew in juveniles by allowing them to play video games, smoke marijuana and drink alcohol; failed to employ sufficient security, allowing sting storefronts to be burglarized; carelessly handled sensitive documents containing undercover officer’s names and vehicle information; and left behind damaged rental properties, failing to pay landlords for repairs. In Milwaukee, an ATF agent’s guns were stolen, including an automatic machine gun, which has not been recovered. The sting operations were part of an ATF initiative meant to go after “the worst of the worst” and target areas beset by violent crime. But in the Milwaukee operation and elsewhere, the defendants largely had nonviolent criminal backgrounds. Even a federal prosecutor criticized the ATF for the kinds of people targeted.

    Tags: ATF; guns

    By John Diedrich; Raquel Rutledge

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    2013

  • The Gifted Life of a Governor

    Over months of in-depth investigative reporting, Washington Post reporters discovered Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell--a respected state leader and rising star in his party--held a secret: He and his family had accepted lavish gifts and large loans from the chief executive of a struggling dietary supplement manufacturer, even while working to promote the company. The gifts included luxury items such as designer clothes, a Cape Cod vacation, a Rolex watch and a catered wedding. The money totaled $120,000 in loans over about a year in 2011 and 2012, none repaid before the Washington Post started asking questions. After dozens of articles, the governor apologized for his actions and repaid the money. State and federal authorities opened criminal probes and leaders in both parties have promised to rewrite state ethics laws, long considered some of the most lax in the nation.

    Tags: ethics; government; bribes; gifts

    By Rosalind S. Helderman; Carol D. Leonnig; Laura Vozzella

    The Washington Post

    2013

  • Colorado's Failing Parole System

    A father of three, gunned down for his pizza delivery uniform. That uniform is then used in the murder of Colorado’s Prisons Chief, shot and killed when he answered his front door. The man who carried out the killings: a career criminal on parole. A series of Call7 Breaking News Investigations uncovers the catastrophic failure of Colorado’s parole division. Failures that allowed a parolee identified as high risk and assigned a specially trained officer, to commit murder- twice. A parolee absconder who Call7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta uncovered committed both murders while “off the grid” as parole officers at all levels ignored critical alerts he was on the run for nearly a week. Marchetta holds officials accountable for the fatal oversights that took place. Her investigations led to immediate and long-term meaningful changes at the Colorado Department of Corrections, including a new policy requiring officers to respond to ankle bracelet tamper alerts, new equipment for parole officers, legislative hearings and a change in leadership at the parole division.

    Tags: parole; crime

    By Theresa Marchetta; Jennifer Castor; Carl Bilek

    KMGH-TV (Denver)

    2013